Six Dr. Seuss books are no longer published due to their use of offensive imagery, according to the company overseeing the children’s author and illustrator’s estate.
In a statement on Tuesday, Dr. Seuss Enterprises that it decided last year to end the publication and licensing of the books by Theodor Seuss Geisel. Titles include his first book, published under the pseudonym Dr. Seuss was written, “And to think I saw it on Mulberry Street” (1937) and “If I Ran the Zoo” (1950).
“These books point people in hurtful and wrong ways,” said Dr. Seuss Enterprises in the statement. The company said the decision was made after working with a group of experts, including educators, and reviewing the catalog of titles.
Mr. Geisel, whose bizarre stories have entertained millions of children and adults worldwide, died in 1991. The other books that are no longer published are “McElligot’s Pool”, “On Beyond Zebra!” “Scrambled eggs great!” and “The Cat’s Quizzer”.
Mr. Geisel’s stories are loved by fans for their rhymes and fantastic characters, but also for their positive values, such as taking responsibility for the planet. However, in recent years, critics have said some of his work is racist and presented harmful depictions of certain groups.
In “And Thinking I Saw It on Mulberry Street,” a character described as “a Chinese” has lines for his eyes, wears a pointy hat, and carries chopsticks and a bowl of rice. (Issues published in the 1970s changed the reference from “a Chinese” to “a Chinese”.) In “When I Run the Zoo”, two characters from the “African island of Yerka” are portrayed as shirtless, shoeless and ape-like.
A school district in Virginia said over the weekend that it had advised schools to contact Dr. Seuss books on “Read Across America Day”, a national literacy program that takes place every year on March 2nd, the anniversary of the birth of Mr. Geisel, no longer needs to be emphasized.
“Research over the past few years has found strong racist overtones in many of the books written / illustrated by Dr. Seuss,” said Loudoun County Public Schools.
The decision to publish some Dr. Discontinuing Seuss books is helping to reinvigorate a debate about classic children’s titles that do not positively represent minority groups. In France, the latest in a series of beloved comics, Lucky Luke features a black hero and narrative that reinterprets the role of the cowboy and criticizes the book for indulging in an America-inspired obsession with the breed.
Before becoming a giant in children’s literature, Mr. Geisel drew political cartoons for a New York-based newspaper, PM, from 1941 to 1943, including some that used harmful stereotypes to caricature Japanese and Japanese-Americans. Decades later, he said he was embarrassed by the cartoons, which were “full of the hasty judgments any political cartoonist must make”.
Random House Children’s Books, which the Dr. Seuss books, stated in a statement that it was Dr. Respect Seuss Enterprises and the work of the body that reviewed the books.